The President's Message – 27 May 2022
Hello, my name is Jacqueline Small, and I am President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which I am speaking with you today – the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.
I want to thank Professor John Wilson for steering our College safely through the tumultuous waters of the past two years. I want to thank him for his determined, decisive, and deeply compassionate leadership as President.
I have been asked recently - what kind of President will I be? The same... but different. Our times, and our College, are changing, yet we stand true to our foundations. I will continue to stand for the excellence of our Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand medical specialists and trainees.
I will support the College’s purpose to serve the health of our people – particularly the needs of people who experience disadvantage, including people with intellectual disability. I will focus on climate change and the health of our children. We all have a role to play in the reform of our health system to deliver health equity and improved health outcomes for all.
I am the same, because like our first female President, Priscilla Kincaid-Smith (1986-1988), I believe that ‘the history of our College is the history of our Fellows.' But I am also different because my experiences are unlike many who have gone before me as President.
As a woman and a clinician, I have had to juggle work and family commitments since I had my first child towards the end of my training. I have worked part-time as a developmental paediatrician. I discovered that being part of the College enabled me to not only grow professionally, but also to make a difference. That's my story. We are living through times when all our stories need to be heard as they define who we are and build our communities.
Have you heard of Helen Mayo, Kate Mackay, Marjory Little, Margaret Harper and Eva Shipton? Those five women physicians were among the first Fellows who established the College in 1938, but they were largely written out of its history – our history.
Associate Professor Catherine Storey wrote about these extraordinary women who overcame many obstacles. Yet, we have overlooked or ignored these women and most certainly have under-rated their achievements. In other words, we won’t realise the full potential of our College into the future until we understand the stories of all of us. That includes the stories of trainees and Fellows from a diversity of genders and backgrounds –especially First Nations peoples.
Oliver Sacks wrote in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat:
“We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative – whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives.”
What's your story? Your stories are our story. That’s what I want for our College – I want us to come together by listening to, learning from each other, and together forge our future as paediatricians and physicians.
During the Presidential handover, I wasn’t alone on the stage. I was there with three women who have made their own remarkable contributions to our College. They reflected, in part, my journey through the College. They were Dr Davina Buntsma – Trainee of the year in 2021, Dr Jenny Proimos – President of Paediatrics 2008 to 2010 and Associate Professor Jill Sewell the second female President of our College from 2004 to 2006.
I encourage you, as I did our newest Fellows at the recent convocation to:
Build on our shared foundations and values – deliver health equity for our communities.
Care for yourself and those most dear to you – John Deane wrote of being aware of the inter connectivity of all living and non-living elements, being the guardian of where you live and seeing the wondrous in the common and value the commons.
Strive to make a difference – care about your patients. See the potential in our College to improve the health of communities and be part of our leadership, our community and our exciting future together.
I would like to thank my colleagues at Sydney Local Health District for supporting me through the next two years.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to be your President.
Dr Jacqueline Small
The RACP welcomes the new Australian Federal Government, in particular its commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which we whole-heartedly support. We look forward to the vision of the Statement becoming a reality and supporting First Nations leadership in working with government on closing the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
There was a strong message sent on climate change through the federal election. During the election, the RACP led the Healthy Climate Future campaign, which is supported by nine other medical colleges, representing more than 100,000 doctors. We are calling for a climate-ready and climate-friendly healthcare system. We look forward to working with the new government to develop a national strategy on climate change and health, which it has previously committed to. The strategy must improve the resilience of our healthcare system to extreme weather events and reduce the healthcare system’s emissions, which currently make up about seven per cent of national emissions, to net zero.
Gender equality has also been a key issue in the election. The RACP recognises that women face enormous barriers in entering and progressing through their medical career compared to their male counterparts, and we are committed to advancing gender equity in medicine. This requires a whole-of-health system approach and we look forward to working with government and other stakeholders on this key priority.
There is a lot of work for the new government to do, as the challenges of COVID-19 continue, including delays to care and the immense strain on the health workforce, which must be urgently addressed. We are concerned about the impacts of the pandemic on children and young people. As part of the Kids COVID Catch Up campaign, we have been calling for mental health funding for children and young people, and the government has announced its Student Wellbeing Boost to provide mental health funding in schools. In addition, The Hon. Mark Butler MP, who may be the new Health Minister, committed to rapid review of supports required for children with disability in schools, in response to emails from Kids COVID Catch Up campaign supporters. We will be holding the new government to these commitments and urging it to go further.
We also look forward to working with the government on the improvements in healthcare system and caring industries it has committed to, following strong advocacy from RACP and other voices. These include improvements to aged care, childcare, a review of the NDIS, the establishment of a centre for prevention and disease control and a $1.5 billion medical manufacturing fund.
Yesterday, 26 May, was National Sorry Day, which remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, known as the Stolen Generations.
We acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. RACP commits to working with Indigenous communities and organisations to address the impacts of trauma and ongoing colonisation.
RACP Congress 2022 has drawn to a close and for those who attended, the recorded streamed sessions are now available for viewing. Catch up on sessions you may have been unable to attend or check out some of the excellent talks from other specialties. Access to recorded sessions will be available for the next six months.
Don’t miss out on the keynote session, delivered by Dr Sandro Demaio, Health promotion helping to rebuild a healthy population. Make sure you check out the resources pages to see copies of session and other relevant materials.
Graphic visual scribe recordings
You can also access the graphic visual scribe recordings of some of the sessions that were made live during the sessions. They're a great way of re-capping on some of the key points of RACP Congress.
Access graphic visual scribe recordings
Mentor Match helps you find and connect with others based on your mentoring preferences and professional goals. You can register to be a mentor or mentee and based on your selections, you can connect and start a mentoring relationship. Watch this short video to see how easy it is to participate. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play, or log in via MyRACP.
The ROC (RACP Online Community) is a secure online forum and series of communities exclusively for all RACP Fellows and trainees. If you haven’t used this type of platform before, think of it as a virtual town hall for the entire College and a series of different online common rooms for different Divisions, Faculties and Chapters. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play, or log in via MyRACP.
Join the discussion on these trending topics:
Webinar: Wednesday, 1 June 2022 at 5pm AEST, 7pm NZST
You're invited to watch the prestigious John Snow Scholarship Finals 2022 webinar on Wednesday, 1 June 2022 at 5pm AEST, 7pm NZST. Hosted by the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM), you'll hear scholarship finalists from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand present on a variety of topics related to public health medicine. All are welcome to this exciting event. Find out more about John Snow Scholarships, which open 1 July 2022.
We are pleased to launch the Behind These Doors video tour of the RACP building at 145 Macquarie Street, Sydney. You're invited to join us on a virtual journey to explore the College’s Macquarie Street home and discover its fascinating treasures and history.
We thank our narrator, Honorary Associate Professor Catherine Storey OAM, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney.
The Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) is the College’s supervisor training program. The GROW model allows supervisors to provide feedback to trainees and is taught in SPDP 1: Educational Leadership and Management. Register now to attend a SPDP face-to-face or virtual workshop or the online course.
For more information about SPDP and the GROW model, email us at email@example.com.
Fellows are asked to assist us in developing digital health resources and professional development opportunities that suit your needs. You are invited to complete a short survey to help us to understand your current level of skills and experience in digital health.
Findings from the survey will guide us in developing appropriate resources and continuing professional development opportunities to support your knowledge and understanding of digital health. It will also identify areas where you may need further training, education and support.
Complete the survey
The RACP offers an extensive collection of online learning resources designed to support members with their professional development and lifelong learning needs.
New physician advocacy online course
The Physician Advocacy online course will help you to develop your working knowledge of government and parliamentary processes, policy and media, stakeholder analysis, and framing messages. It will provide you with the skills to advocate on important health issues. By providing an evidence-based medical perspective physicians can make a real difference when it comes to affecting broader systemic change.
Its flexible design means you can dip in and out, or just complete the parts that are relevant to you. Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on RACP Online Learning.
Start the course now
New Digital Health CPD Primer
The Primer of CPD activities in digital health provides a range of digital health activities and CPD requirement examples across the three CPD categories. The course has been developed by the RACP’s Digital Health Advisory Group to help you gain knowledge and CPD credits within digital health and clinical informatics.
Kickstart your digital health CPD activities
RACP Congress seeks AFOEM representative for 2022-2025
Would you like the opportunity to shape the future of an educational meeting that attracts over 1,000 healthcare professionals worldwide? Closes 31 May 2022.
Submit expression of interest
Represent your profession in policy and advocacy
Do you want to be a force for change; be recognised and listened to by health policy decision-makers and be an advocate for patients’ interests? Closes 6 June 2022
Submit expression of interest
Calling all Aotearoa New Zealand infectious diseases Fellows
The subcommittee oversees operational and local matters for infectious diseases training in Aotearoa New Zealand and reports to the Advanced Training Committee in Infectious Diseases. Closes 17 June 2022.
Submit expression of interest
Aotearoa New Zealand President-elect vacancy
Expressions of interest are open to all Aotearoa New Zealand Fellows to become the 2022 - 2024 Aotearoa New Zealand President-elect. Closes 24 June 2022
Submit expression of interest
Join the Governance Committee
We have a member vacancy on the Governance Committee, which is charged with assisting the College with the implementation of governance improvements. Closes 30 June 2022.
Submit expression of interest
Join the Advanced Training Committee in Nephrology
Expressions of interest are open for two vacant positions on the Advanced Training Committee in Nephrology. Closes 11 July 2022.
Become the Chair of the Australian Medical Council's Medical School Accreditation Committee
The assessment and accreditation of primary medical programs is one of the Australian Medical Council’s core accreditation functions. Find out more about this opportunity. Closes 1 July 2022.
Find out about more opportunities on the expressions of interest webpage.
Would you like to learn more about the issues we're advocating for on your behalf? Check out the media releases webpage, which includes all our media releases, including the following, which have been published this month:
Read other RACP eBulletins:
Join the conversation in the ROC